Heart surgeons are fed up with old technology—many have considered a career change

A majority of surgeons in the United States believe operating room (OR) technology is out of date, according to new survey data published by Medtronic.

The global healthcare technology company surveyed 1,000 U.S. surgeons in May 2024, asking them several questions about their satisfaction with the technology in their ORs. Sixty percent of respondents work at a private practice, and the other 40% come from a public practice.

Nearly half of all respondents were general surgeons. While 12.5% of respondents were cardiothoracic surgeons, meanwhile, another 0.03% were vascular surgeons.

Nearly all surgeons (97%) said they believe the current technology being used in U.S. hospitals could be improved. In addition, 74% believe their OR is currently using “inefficient” technology that could have a negative impact on patient care. Another 73% think their OR’s technology is holding them back from performing at the best of their abilities.

In addition, cardiothoracic surgeons and vascular surgeons both estimate they lose an average of 3.5 hours per week due to the limitations of their OR’s technology. Among general surgeons, that estimate is nearly 4 hours of time lost per week.

Could these issues cause surgeons to walk away from the field altogether? Based on these survey responses, it certainly seems possible. A whopping 62% of respondents said burnout associated with outdated technology could potentially cause them to change careers.

“As surgeons, we want to spend our time saving lives, not completing administrative tasks. Inefficient tech puts strain on our surgical teams every day—taking time away from patients and making it harder to deliver the best possible care and training,” Vipul Patel, MD, executive director of the Society of Robotic Surgery, said in a Medtronic statement.   

The Medtronic report also investigated how artificial intelligence (AI) and other advanced technologies could improve care for today’s surgeons. While 60% of respondents said they believe AI has the potential to make a difference, that same percentage also said they see potential in digital training platforms as a way to improve education for surgeons in rural hospitals.

Read the report here.

Michael Walter
Michael Walter, Managing Editor

Michael has more than 16 years of experience as a professional writer and editor. He has written at length about cardiology, radiology, artificial intelligence and other key healthcare topics.

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